5 Ways User-Generated Video Content Can Transform Your Brand

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The power of user-generated video content often goes unnoticed. But as you'll see, user-generated video content can transform your brand by Social Proof, Authenticity, Incentivizing Engagement, Building A Tribe, and Turning Customers Into Stakeholders.

In this post, you will discover how to leverage user-generated content to get these results alongside the best practices of cataloging and repurposing UGC for your business. Towards the end, you’ll also find content hacks that can help fill your backlog of organic content and give your brand a polished appearance.

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Social Proof

Many brands struggle to get customers to buy their products. Having your customers not only purchase from you but also create content for you is, therefore, a flex. Marketers and psychologists call it social proof.

When prospective customers see their peers creating content for certain brands, they begin to value those brands. By getting user-generated content for your business, you broadcast that your brand resonates with the market.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that user-generated content is good for business. The fact still remains that most businesses fail to receive and share content made by their customers… because their customers aren't creating any content for them!

You have to encourage customers to create content with your products and services. Some marketers dread the idea of asking users for content, but it isn't anything to fear. In fact, customers who love your products are more than willing to give you a testimonial or post pictures of their hauls.

You just need to ask! By asking for very specific types of content from your most loyal customers, you can create the beginnings of a chain reaction.

Don't ask for non-specific content. The more freedom you give your users, the more room you leave for indecision. You'll get a better response if you ask for content from the following easy-to-generate categories:

  • Video Testimonial - Saying a few nice things about the product you like is pretty easy.

  • Posing with the product - People love to show off products they like.

  • Using branded filters - If you have a branded filter, customers can easily use it on the social media app of their choice.

  • Campaign-related commentary - If you have a campaign around happiness, holidays, or anything with emotional resonance, asking people to share their thoughts can help you get content.

  • Crowd-sourced Ideas - People love to share ideas. So, ask them what product of yours they would take if they had to spend a year on a deserted island. Interesting questions will get you interesting content.

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We live in an era of overpolished content. Brands with grassroots content are rare, and seeing genuine user-generated content on a company's page feels like a breath of fresh air. Content made by customers is worth its weight in gold primarily because it is authentic. And the less directly incentivized a customer is to create branded content, the more authentic that content is.

This puts content marketers in a tight spot. On the one hand, they need to encourage users to create content with their products, but on the other hand, they can't hand out rewards that would make users' videos less sincere.

So, how can marketers get users to create content out of enthusiasm for the brand and not for the rewards?

We live in an era of overpolished content. Brands with grassroots content are rare, and seeing genuine user-generated content on a company's page feels like a breath of fresh air. Content made by customers is worth its weight in gold primarily because it is authentic. And the less directly incentivized a customer is to create branded content, the more authentic that content is.

This puts content marketers in a tight spot. On the one hand, they need to encourage users to create content with their products, but on the other hand, they can't hand out rewards that would make users' videos less sincere. So, how can marketers get users to create content out of enthusiasm for the brand and not for the rewards?

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Incentivizing Engagement

Incentivizing engagement can be tricky because of two reasons. First, it puts a disproportionate pressure on the budget. But more importantly, in many cases, it leads to inauthentic UGC. The video marketer who collects UGC with rewards has to be extra careful.

He has to avoid promising money, physical gifts, and big favors in exchange for content. Instead, he must rely on more abstract rewards like giving credit and future collaborations.

Bad Rewards:

  • Irrelevant to the business

  • Involves money or other general-interest prize

  • Not scalable

  • More interesting than the content itself

Good Rewards:

  • Relevant to the brand

  • Niche-interest reward that only appeals to the brand's customers

  • Scalable

  • The content is more interesting than the reward

In some cases, engagement is the ultimate reward. If your brand is big enough to launch organic challenges, then people might respond to your content calls simply out of interest in getting mentioned by your official accounts.

Reposts from brands can be status-raising. But not every brand has enough clout to receive user-generated content by simply asking for it. One way to encourage people to make content for your brand is to create interesting challenges.

People love to engage in games, so the better you gamify your content calls, the more inclined they will be to respond.

Here are a few examples of gamified UGC campaigns:

  • Dance Challenges - You can get your community to dance to a branded sound and accessible choreography.

  • Story Time - Get your audience to talk about specific times in their lives. Depending on your business, you can seek stories about graduation, romance, or career success.

  • AR Games - AR filters offer interesting opportunities for engagement. You can recreate games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Treasure Hunt with branded Snapchat and IG filters/augmentations.

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Building A Tribe

As you gamify your challenges and get people competing and cooperating in order to make content for you, you'll notice a buzzing sense of community. The word "community" is often thrown around by marketers, but very rarely is it given the respect and attention it deserves.

Not every group of customers is a community. A community is what emerges when people connect over shared aspects. What’s shared could be deep and even religious. Or it can be something as simple as shared entertainment. Regardless, humans develop bonds and start feeling like they belong. For a brand, this can be priceless. It makes business meaningful.

UGC is a result of a strong community. And it leads to a strong sense of community. It is a cycle. One that you can enter on either end.

You can start with a strong community that eagerly responds to your content calls and makes user-generated content for your brand. Or you can start with super-engaging content calls that get people involved and have the community emerge from the collective content creation exercise.

Depending on where your business is, breaking in on one or the other end will be more feasible. Read the descriptions of two hypothetical businesses below to see which one your business fits.

Business A: A brand that has a lot of buzz with its customer base but has not formally launched content challenges. Customers may post its products and tag the brand with sporadic frequency. The brand has hundreds of thousands of followers online, and its customers feel like they’re a part of a tribe.

Business B: A brand that launches challenges and contests, getting hundreds of entries. It is relatively small, and while its customers are individually passionate, they have not had the opportunity to bond and express their interest as a collective.

For Business A, all that’s required is a content call that leads to a cascade of user-generated content. This content can then be streamlined and broadcasted to reinforce the sense of community that’s already present.

For business B, the easier path to the community-UGC cycle is to alter existing campaigns to create room for discussion. The easier it is for people to discuss and engage in group activities, the more they will feel like being a part of a tribe.

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Turning Customers Into Stakeholders

Speaking of feeling like a part of something, one of the greatest perks of user-generated content is that it turns customers into stakeholders. As customers become more involved in content creation for a brand, they feel like they represent and own the brand. The more ownership you give customers, the more loyal you make them.

User-generated content can span multiple categories and range from feedback videos and testimonial clips to dance challenges and product showcases. Despite the diversity of content types, the resulting sense of ownership prevails. Look at the examples below to see how users can create different types of content yet walk away with the same sense of brand loyalty.

User-Generated Content Action by business Conclusion
Feedback about products Feedback is publicly acknowledged and acted upon The business cares about me.
Video Testimonial The customer is thanked by the community manager The business appreciates me.
Dance Video The video is reposted by the official account My content is valued by the business.
Branded-Hashtag post The official page likes the post The business noticed and appreciated my efforts.
Product Showcase The customer is thanked, and the content is repurposed by the brand. My work is valuable.
Text post conveying excitement. The post is liked by the brand’s official page. The business is as excited about me as I am excited about it.

As you can see, the content types can differ, but as long as you appreciate your customers, they will begin to have a sense of belonging to your brand.

Appreciating customers is essential. And appreciating customers who create content for your business is crucial. However, depending on your business size, appreciating individual posts and customers can be difficult.

Here are a few scalable ways to convey your appreciation:

  • Hire a community manager - If your small business is beginning to get enough interest, you might want to hire someone to focus on cultivating and nurturing your community.

  • Start a “Thank You Thursdays” tradition - You can select and thank, at random, users who engage with your posts or create content with your products. This might even create a competition for your attention, leading to more UGC.

  • Like, Comment on, or Repost UGC - User-generated content can vary in quality. Some posts look too good not to repurpose for your official account. Others are slightly less repostable, but you can like them.

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Contentfries Guide To Collecting, Maintaining, And Leveraging User-Generated Content

So you know that user-generated content can be the marketing fuel your business needs to stand out. Many marketers know that, but very few manage to get any UGC. This guide will help you get more user-generated content than you know what to do with. So, if you're ready to turn your brand into an organic content magnet, carry on reading.

Step 1 – Start With The “Who”

As a business owner or marketer, you know who your audience is. Still, you will be tempted to create content calls that are for everyone. Do not give in to this temptation. Start with (and stick with) the "who". Who is your business for?

That's who your content calls are for. If you market to senior citizens, then don't launch a campaign asking for TikTok dances. And if you're marketing to kids, do not expect essays from them. Being clear about who you're dealing with is half the battle.

Step 2 – Create A Reward-Heavy Campaign

Initially, you do not have enough goodwill to get content just by asking for it. You might get content, but not enough. So, starting with a campaign with a sizeable reward can kickstart the flow of user-generated content and give the initial social proof you need.

Make sure your campaign doesn't attract irrelevant people, though. Again, stick with the "who". Don't offer cash rewards, because everyone likes cash. Offer rewards that have a disproportionate appeal to the "who" that you're targeting.

If your business appeals to teenage girls, then you cannot set philosophy lecture tapes as the reward for your campaign. Sure, some teenage girls might be into philosophical talks, but the tapes have disproportionate appeal to other demographics.

Step 3 – Build Your Organic Content Library

Once you put out a content challenge, asking people to post a specific type of content, you'll start receiving user-generated content. How much content you receive will depend on how easy it is to make the content you're requesting.

So, initially, you should keep the content call easy and doable. Ask for opinions because everyone has them, and they're easy to share.

You might notice that your post asking for content entries does not have enough organic reach. That's because many mainstream platforms suppress the reach of business pages. Setting aside a budget to push your content call is therefore highly recommended.

Step 4 – Appreciate And Engage

Gratitude is a growth agent not just in your personal life but also in business. You get more of whatever you're grateful for. It might sound esoteric, but when it comes to user-generated content, it has a perfect explanation.

Your customers feel seen and appreciated when you interact with their content. By expressing your gratitude, you reward your content-creating users and make them feel special. This feeling motivates them to evangelize your business. As a result, they create more content for you.

Step 5 – Create A Less Reward-Heavy Campaign

With a library of user-generated content and a streak of appreciative comments, you’re starting to build momentum. Your official page shows content made by your customers, making it normal—and even cool—to make content for your brand. As you engage with UGC posted by your customers, you create an appetite for engagement among your community.

Let's take the example of Sally, a hypothetical customer whose post you liked. Your official page left a comment on her post saying, "Thank you for this lovely post, Sally." Of course, Sally has taken a screenshot of this comment and posted it on her story and even other social media platforms.

Now Sally's friend, Sabrina, wants to get similar appreciation. Just as Sabrina is coming up with a plan to get her content recognized, your official page shares Sally's content (which was in your library). Sabrina is now more determined than ever to get noticed.

This is where your second content call goes out. Now, you don’t need to have as big a reward. A smaller reward or even a reward-less content call will get entries from users who want you to repost their content.

Step 6 – Top Up Your Library

With each campaign, you’ll notice that the reward becomes less relevant. Content made by users will start piling up. Remember to top-up your library because you’ll not be able to repost everything immediately. To avoid flooding your feed, use content downloading platforms to get copies of content made by your customers.

Create a spreadsheet with the customers’ usernames so you can shout them out whenever their content is reposted. Many will have forgotten that they made content for your campaign. The notification they get from your tag will revive their enthusiasm.

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Contentfries Content Hacks For UGC

At this point, you understand how User-generated content can supercharge your brand. You also know the exact steps you can take to put out content calls, build a library of organic content, and build a tribe with user-generated media.

Now is the time for some special sauce that’ll accelerate your UGC success. Here are some gamification hacks that will make content creation fun for your customers.

  • Create a points system and a leaderboard - People love to rank high. By creating a point system in your content-creation campaign, you can give people an incentive to make videos and post pictures with your products.

  • Create tiered rewards - Instead of announcing a flat random-selection reward, create a tiered reward system where people get rewarded in proportion to their content quality or reach.

  • Use elements of cooperation and competition - Get people to tag friends or solicit reposts. By getting multiple people to cooperate in order to win against other groups, you can make the game more interesting.

  • Build content-creation into your products - Finally, make your products highly snappable. By making your package something people want to post online, you'll get UGC effortlessly. You can also use the Willy Wonka method, where you place random prizes/vouchers/cards in your product packages. Those who discover them can then post pictures online.

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Final Thoughts

User-generated content sounds like a dream because you don't have to create any content. But as this article reveals, it requires a lot of work. Still, that work is worth it because user-generated content conveys authenticity, supercharges your community, and ultimately helps you sell more products and services.